Eco-Friendly Camping Gear: How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Rilor Staff
Update: July 13, 2022
Table of Contents

These days, it is pretty evident that many people are already conscious of their carbon footprint. And that's a good thing. After all, the world really needs a breather from the harmful emissions, and pollution humans emit. 

Of course, this is where people appreciate outdoor activities like camping and hiking. But little did they know that these endeavors also produce significant carbon footprints, especially if done wrong. For instance, driving long distances to get to a campground using your truck or RV generates emissions. 

Camping doesn't have to be taxing to the environment. Here are some ways you can reduce your carbon footprint while camping. 

How To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint While Camping

These are the strategies that you can use to ensure that your carbon footprint is minimized in every outdoor activity. These are simple approaches, but they are effective enough to keep Mother Nature safe during your short visit.

Don’t Use Bottled Water

It is common for campers to bring bottled water while camping. They are convenient, and you can buy them almost everywhere. But the thing is, these bottled waters are eventually thrown, causing a lot of waste. 

Even if you recycle or reuse them, the process will still have a carbon footprint. Because of this, you may want to get water bottles and install long-lasting filters on them. This option is better than bottled water not only because it has less footprint but because you can use it for drinking in various water bodies. 

Best Water Bottles For Backpacking & Hiking

On Long-Distance Adventures

If you have decided to take an outdoor vacation somewhere outside your state, we recommend that you take conventional travel methods, such as bus or train. You may have the option to fly, but make sure that the flight time takes at least three hours. If it doesn't take three hours on flight time, just take land-based routes. 

You see, most of the emissions of planes happen during the take-off and landing. Needless to say, there are more emissions on short flights than on long-distance flights.

Furthermore, those who are taking planes should consider direct flights only. That would minimize your carbon footprint in the pursuit of your dream camping destinations. 

Smart Campfire Usage

There are specific guidelines for making campfires in the "Leave No Trace Principles." You should follow that to ensure that you can make campfires safely, ethically, and responsibly. The goal here is to ensure that the fire won't damage the environment around you. Furthermore, you don't want to become a culprit of a massive wildfire.

Technically speaking, campfires still generate a high carbon footprint. It is still on fire, and it has fumes that have gaseous compounds that contribute to the greenhouse effect.

Because of this, it is necessary that you keep the fire to a minimum scale. There's no need to create big ones. At the same time, make sure that you only use small wood and branches, not big logs. Small tinders create fire fast; at the same time, they aren't prone to causing wildfires or forest fires. 

How To Build A Campfire Safely

Pack Responsibility

Bringing a lot of things to the campsite tends to generate a lot of residues. That's a given. Furthermore, loading large and bulky luggage may require extensive fuel consumption. 

Hence, you need to streamline the way you pack things. At the same time, you should know your priority. Outdoor adventures only require the essentials. It is imperative that you don't carry more or less. The exact and appropriate should only be included in your camping checklist. 

Allow me to give you some tips:

  • For toiletries, you should opt for refillable and small containers. You don't need to bring the entire shower with you! 
  • Before you head out, make sure that you remove the packaging in your items. This will reduce the weight and bulk of your pack. At the same time, it lets you dispose of and recycle the packaging correctly. 
  • Make sure that all your items and equipment are reusable. Again, the less waste you generate, the more you are helping the environment. 
  • Always be innovative. Think about items that can function in different ways. For instance, you can use towels as blankets. 

Opt To Rent

Consumerism is one of the biggest drivers of pollution and carbon footprint. The more you buy things, the more demand you create for production and manufacturing. Of course, that's a way of running an economy. But at the same time, there should be a balance in the way things are going. 

Hence, there's no real need to buy new gear from time to time. If you have the means, then you always have the freedom to get new tents, sleeping bags, and other camping stuff. But always ask yourself if that's essential. Because the thing is, buying too much isn't really good for the environment. 

If your campground offers rentals for specific equipment, such as tents, you should take advantage of that. It lessens the bulk that you need to carry. At the same time, it helps you reduce the production waste and resources needed to manufacture those gear. 

Opt For Reusable Sanitary Items

Many campers have special needs. Surely enough, nobody is prohibiting them from bringing their personal stuff to the campground. However, they are required to be responsible for handling these items. 

For instance, using non-reusable sanitary items is more harmful to the environment. They often go to the landfills when disposed of. If not thrown properly, they can go to your shores, rivers, and lakes. They might even stay in the land and become disgusting residues. 

Fortunately, there are washable and reusable menstrual cups and pads today. They are gaining popularity due to their inherent sustainability. Moreover, they don't have too much chemical composition, enabling them to be a safer option for you and the environment. 

It is also ideal that you bring a waterproof container for these sanitary products. You need to dispose of them properly once you get back home. If the campground doesn't have a disposal system for sanitary products, you should take care of the disposal by yourself.

Use Renewable Energy

If you are using your truck, camper van, or RV, you might need to switch to renewable energy for running your equipment and appliances. Here, solar power is the most viable and practical option. It has a convenient installation. Depending on the kind of solar power you have, it might run multiple devices at the same time, such as an A/C system or refrigerator. 

Renewable energy emits fewer emissions. Though it is true that it is expensive, it is something that you should consider if you want to minimize your carbon footprint. Usually, full-time RV campers often resort to this alternative form of energy. 

Here's how to install a solar panel in RVs

Invest In High-Quality Camping Gear

As mentioned, there's nothing wrong if you are going to invest in camping equipment. If it is your desire to buy and use your own stuff, then do so. 

If you are going to take this route, I have to remind you that you choose high-quality options. Durability, reliability, and functionality are among the considerations that you have to take into account whenever buying outdoor equipment. 

Many of you would say that these high-end camping tools and gear are expensive. Well, that's true. But they last longer than their counterparts. At the same time, they often include recycled materials in their construction. They often apply sustainable mechanisms, which is great. 

The more durable your stuff is, the lesser the chance you have to replace them. Again, that reduces waste and demand. It is also about cost-efficiency. They have a high initial investment value, but over time, they help you save money from constant replacements. 

Carbon Offsetting

One of the finest and most proactive ways of reducing your carbon footprint is through carbon offsetting. Interestingly, this practice is not only limited to camping but to other outdoor endeavors. 

Offsetting simply means that you balance whatever action you make. Of course, limiting our waste, mitigating our damages, and reducing our resource utilization are great endeavors. But at the same time, they may feel that it is not enough. This is the point where you need to give back. 

Carbon offsetting is activities that benefit the environment, specifically by balancing the carbon lost and used. For instance, planting trees where you have camped is a good example of carbon offsetting. Tree-planting is a sustainable measure, as its effects can last long and would benefit many generations to come. 

Here's a brief explainer about carbon offsetting


Being a mindful camper is essential these days. We should realize that we are just visitors in this world. Hence, we should be careful with our actions, ensuring that what we do doesn't compromise our present environment and the living ecosystem within it. Reducing our carbon footprint is an effective means of supporting the world and keeping it a viable paradise for future generations. 

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